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Name of Activity:

Cooperative Handball

Purpose of Activity:

To fully include all students in a cooperative activity. This is best used as a culminating activity.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

2 chairs, ball (brightly colored nerf ball is best), team jerseys, cloth strips

Description of Idea

Set up two chairs at opposite ends of the playing area. One student from each team sits in a chair and becomes the goalie. Divide the class into two teams, with one team wearing the jerseys/pinnies. Each team spreads out on their half of the playing area. Toss a coin to see which team will get the ball first. The object is to pass the ball from teammate to teammate, until the team goalie catches the ball. The goalies are placed on the opposite ends of where their teamates are. In other words the goalies will be facing their teamates at the start. Set up a 6' x 8' safety area in front of the goalies. The defensive players can't go inside of that area. When the goalie catches the ball scored a point for that team.

Basic rules:

  • After catching the ball a player cannot walk (or move his/her chair). If he/she does, then travelling is called and the other team is awarded the ball. A person in a wheelchair may wheel around in a circle to find open teamates.
  • Players may use a pivot foot/wheel as in basketball.
  • If the ball touches the floor, (i.e. a teammate drops the ball or has it batted down when throwing), the other team is awarded the ball.
  • Defensive players must stay at least 1-2 ft. (your decision) from the offensive player. This should limit fouls and some possible rough play.

This activity is best for 10-16 students. However, if you have a large number of students you can use sideline players to catch the ball then continuously rotate players from the sideline to the playing area every five minutes, or you can play with two or more balls. You can also limit your goalies' abilities by using cloth strips to inhibit vision or motor ability.

Teaching Suggestions:

Encourage your students to use short passes to work the ball to their goalie. Maybe give them extra points for making 4 passes in a row successfully.

If outdoors use a frisbee instead of a foam ball.

Give points to team using good sportsmanship. You will have to define what this is however.

Keep score by giving them one point for completed passes and two points for getting ball successfully to goalie.

Adaptations for Students with Disabilities:

Game Rules (See below)

Ringing/Beeper Ball (if needed)

Limiting abilities for goalies

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Submitted by Travis Phillips who teaches at Experanza-Spring Ridge Middle School in California, MD. Thanks for contributing to PE Central! Posted on PEC: 8/29/2001.

Viewed 227100 times since 8/24/2001.

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Previous Comments:

Bryan Ford

This is an excellent way to instill the teamwork concept.


I have observed this game at different middle schools and the 2 most successful rules I have found are:
1. there is a clipboard on the sidelines and it is the responsibility of the team captain that everyone on their team makes a point before class ends. It is really great to see everyone working together.
2. A 6" gator ball is used. All students becoming involved, not just the athletic ones.


I've played with 3-4 teams and rotated the teams after 1 goal is scored. I have also implemented the rule that players must pass the ball 3 times before they can score which helps with teamwork.


I found that it made it easier for everyone to participate by making a rule that only girls can score points by throwing the ball to their goalie. Before this rule was enacted, the boys dominated the game and the girls did not participate as much as I would have liked. The rule allowed the boys to remain competitive and incorporate the girls into the game to help their team to win.


My middle schoolers absolutely loved this game. They know its the only way to have a partial football game without using a football. They want to play football all the time and know the only place we can use a football is outside. :-)

Elizabeth Hrabonz

My 7-12 graders loved this game. I made the golies have to sit and the student with the ball could only take two steps. This was a good pre game for flag football or basketball.